New Zealand 66-28 Ireland, New Plymouth, June 12
Heaslip citing completes Ireland's misery
June 12, 2010

Ireland's Jamie Heaslip has been cited for striking during the heavy 66-28 loss to New Zealand.

The Irish No.8 was shown a red card by referee Wayne Barnes in the 15th minute at Yarrow Stadium for twice kneeing All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and will face a hearing in New Plymouth on Sunday. His departure and Ronan O'Gara's 10-minute spell on the sideline shortly afterwards for hauling back Cory Jane as he chased a ball heading for the try-line, effectively ended any chance Ireland had as the All Blacks raced out to a 31-0 lead on their way to a nine tries to four victory.

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll admitted Heaslip's sending-off had a massive impact on the game but added: "In fairness to the All Blacks they were in their stride anyway. It didn't help matters though.

"It's difficult playing against the All Blacks with 15 players. When we lost Jamie, then Rog [O'Gara] to the yellow card we were chasing shadows a bit. It was a tough period of time."

Neither O'Driscoll nor coach Declan Kidney wanted to comment on Barnes' decision, saying they had not had chance to look closely at the incident before facing the media. McCaw was similarly reluctant to voice his opinion, but did confirm he was kneed.

"He got sent off for a knee. I don't think I should talk too much about it because I know it's before the judiciary and I've been told not to talk too much about it," the New Zealand captain said. "Obviously it was dealt with by what the ref saw and that's all you can ask."

O'Driscoll was more forthcoming about O'Gara's sin-binning. "I don't think there can be any complaints on the yellow card," he said. "Rog pulled Cory Jane back and probably stopped a try. I think Wayne felt he had no option."

He added: "I don't want to get into the fairness of them (the cards). You've got to deal with these things. Unfortunately sometimes they are the cards that you're dealt and you've got to suck it up."

Despite the record score against them, O'Driscoll still felt there were some positives to come out of the match - not least the character his side showed in the second spell when he, Tommy Bowe and Gordon D'Arcy added further tries to Dan Tuohy's late first-half effort.

"It was a bad defeat. But I'm ever the positive person and you've got to take the good things that you can out of every game," O'Driscoll said. "There were certainly some of those in the second half. I'm delighted that we were able to show a bit of bottle in the second half and play some good stuff."

Ireland's injury count though continued to mount with John Muldoon and Mick O'Driscoll both forced off in the first half and John Hayes a late scratching because of a virus. Muldoon was taken to hospital with a suspected displaced fracture in his arm, while Mick O'Driscoll suffered back spasms that affected him down his hamstring.

"Our doctor has just gone to the hospital now to see what the best (course of action is), whether they should operate on it straight away or just buy 24 hours and see what to do," Kidney said of Muldoon's injury. Micko's in a bit of discomfort at the moment. He's just quite sore. He was good going into (the game). Sometimes these things have a way of sorting themselves out again. The next 24 hours will tell that."

Kidney said no decision had been made on whether a replacement would be called in with Muldoon ruled out and Heaslip also in doubt. "We'll take a look at that because we just have the six back rows with us and we have a game (against New Zealand Maori) in six days' time."

New Zealand boss Graham Henry enjoyed probably one of the best starts to an international season the All Blacks have had. Conrad Smith, Sam Whitelock - on debut - and Jimmy Cowan bagged two tries apiece, while fellow debutant, prop Ben Franks, Kieran Read and Neemia Tialata all scored in the rout. Add in the impressive debuts from full-back Israel Dagg and inside centre Benson Stanley, plus the performances of new caps Aaron Cruden and Victor Vito off the bench, and it was a good night for Henry in New Plymouth.

"I thought we played some outstanding football in the first half," he said. "We turned over some ball in the second half and it's hard to defend from turnover ball. But overall if you win by 30-odd points against Ireland you'd have to be pleased.

"They are a good side and they showed that in the latter part of the game where they put a lot of good attacking moves together. O'Driscoll, Bowe and company are good footballers. They are world-class backs and they showed that ability in the latter part of the game."


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